Jump to content

Space Aggression


Guest Rocket
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Rocket

Now that I have been reading more, I think Rocket has space aggression and not sleep aggression. He growls if anyone sits on his bed - awake or asleep.

This concerns me as I am afraid that one of my sons ages 9 and 11 will accidentally get too close. We have talked about being careful. but accidents do happen and I don't want them being bitten. We also h ave a yorkie but she doesn't seem to attempt going on his bed.

I may need to muzzle him when he is on his bed. Thoughts??

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does Rocket respond well to discipline? We've only had our greyhound a few months and she's been non-aggresive in every way except for when we first got her she would growl or snap if she was chewing on an especially good treat/toy on her bed of if she stole an object she didn't want to give up. I corrected her immediately with very loud "ah-ah" or saying "drop it" sternly over and over. I found that backing away/acting afraid only made the situation worse, which is hard when you think a dog is going to snap at you, but they really don't want to hurt you they only want to warn you and if you act dominate and confident they should be the first to back off. As soon as I acted dominate by moving *towards* her when she growled with loud commands she would give up the toy/food as long as I was consistently reprimanding her.

 

She no longer acts aggressive and I can handle or take away a toy or food while she's on her bed and it only took a few incidents of showing I was the alpha dog and not backing down when she started up. A lot of the old episodes on "the Best of the Dog Whisperer" on Netflix deals with dogs who have space/food aggression so maybe try watching some of those that might give you some good techniques? From what I've learned something like putting on a muzzle will not correct the behavior long term. If you're really afraid of biting maybe start off a using the muzzle while training, but if you avoid him while on his bed altogether it may only make him even more protective and aggressive. Not sure if this helps... but just some thoughts on what had worked for me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A very controversial topic... There are two camps on this one. People who firmly believe you should never approach a dog on its bed, and others who believe dogs can and should be trained to tolerate humans near the bed. I'm of the latter, if only for the safety aspect (and especially in a household with children). My trainer has worked with greyhounds for many years, and she wrote this article. It covers both space and sleep aggression. This should help you.

 

http://www.akinfdt.net/greyhound_sleep_issues.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just my experience with Logan here.... When we first got Logan he would swing his head and bite, not hard as to break the skin but enough to feel it. My husband got mad and marched him to his kennel in a very firm manner. He had his tail tucked and was pretty scared about being yelled at and hauled off to the kennel. Only had to do that once and he will not bite but he is VERY weird if you touch the bed. He will give you a VERY dirty look and bolt off as if you lit it on fire. You can touch him all you want just NOT THE BED.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Waterdog66

A very controversial topic... There are two camps on this one. People who firmly believe you should never approach a dog on its bed, and others who believe dogs can and should be trained to tolerate humans near the bed. I'm of the latter, if only for the safety aspect (and especially in a household with children). My trainer has worked with greyhounds for many years, and she wrote this article. It covers both space and sleep aggression. This should help you.

 

http://www.akinfdt.net/greyhound_sleep_issues.html

 

Audrey has expressed occasional space aggression. She will growl and has air snapped/snarled a few times and we get plenty of warning when she is feeling triggered.

 

I have been working this issue carefully and patiently by sitting beside her bed and petting her. (Belly or Shoulder Rubs) It does seem like the issue is getting better (It has only happened a couple of times not long after we first got her), What I don't do is approach her from behind or approach her without first calling her name and getting some sort of a reaction from her. (She sleeps with her eyes open when she is just dozing) The key for me is to not startle her.

 

What I am NOT keen on doing is discouraging her from Growling when she does feel triggered. I would rather she growls than sit silently until she uncomfortable enough to bite. Rather, I think I have been working to make her feel more comfortable with people being in her space making good things happen. (I think this is consistent with what the article is describing)

 

What I have also done is to make one of her beds (In a room where we rarely are) her alone space. I NEVER approach her when she is in her "Alone Space".

 

My hope is (And this seems to be working) that when she is starting to feel like she needs some space or alone time, she will go there.

 

ALSO: She is not allowed on any of the furniture and has never once hinted that she would like to. She seems quite content to hang out in HER space on HER beds and as long as we respect that, we seem to get along quite well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

C'mon, Rocket is new. Give him a break. First thing educate your children - many 9 and 11 year olds are not only capable of learning to be perfectly safe around your dog, they can also be excellent contributors to his well being.

 

Rocket will probably learn that when no one ever tries to displace him from his bed that he will have no need to protect it. He will probably also learn in time that no one is going to harm him when his is down. In the mean time be very respectful of his space and allow him the privilege of telling you when he doesn't want to be bothered (growling). Dogs have limited means of communicating with us, why eliminate one of the few options? And it won't kill you to leave Rocket alone now and then.

 

I am firmly in the camp of not overpowering a dog to extinguish some undesireable behaviour. It will be a negative experience that could interfere with developing long term deep trust. Do you want Rocket to behave because he is fearful of a reprisal or because he loves the outcome of the desireable behaviour? Positive reinforcement is the only way to go IMO.

 

Our Hester could be terrifying when he asked to be left alone - growling and sometimes a very intimidating bark. He continued to growl for about a year although the behaviour got less and less as time passed. He was always rewarded with a hasty departure by us and a "good boy" when he growled (I don't recommend the "good boy" part although it worked well for us).The behaviour wasn't consistent. Sometime he would roach and ask for belly rubs and other times it was no touch! He hasn't growled at anyone for about 8 months now, but if he did I would be thrilled that he still felt independent enough to speak up for himself despite the love with which he is constantly showered.

 

Please be very patient and remember your dog is still learning to be a pet. This issue is something that simply cannot be rushed. It is not unreasonable to allow the dog a year or even two to fully trust you. We are at almost year two and trust is still building.

 

FYI the dominance theory methods mentioned in the second post, particularely Cesare Milan's early methods, are generally not considered acceptible in most normal dog situations. They tend to be completely dismissed by serious practitioners in the field of animal behaviour. They are particularely counterproductive when dealing with breeds as sensitive as Greyhounds. Please avoid.

Edited by KickReturn
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest k9soul

Rudy has had this issue to a degree. He was uncomfortable being approached while lying down and on his bed. This has eased a lot as he has simply settled in and learned that things are safe here. But I started off with a few simple things.

 

First, when I walked near his bed I did not look at him at all, I would walk past nonchalantly and not give eye contact.

 

Next I began walking by and dropping a small treat in front of him as I walked by. At first every time I passed and then more randomly.

 

As he began to look at me with relaxed/curious expression when I approached, I would give him a treat by hand. I varied this off and on with different types of treats, from a bit of bread crust, a training treat, a piece of kibble, or something especially yummy like a bit of chicken or cheese. Then I gradually began giving him a stroke or two on the head as he got his treat. I just simply progressed down this road, sometimes coming up to him with some peanut butter on my fingers and let him lick while I gave him some strokes and told him he was a good boy.

 

At this point he is now comfortable with me coming up if he is awake and squatting down next to him for a few pets. Sometimes I have a treat in my hand, sometimes not. I still do not bother him when he is sleeping. If I need to step over him and he's asleep I just say his name or click my tongue so that he isn't startled.

 

This method has been trust building I think as well as bond-building without any force or unpleasantness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent soft approach k9soul - I like that.

 

Hester has never heard the word no. The only time I have ever used UH UH is when he looked to be about to pick something off the ground or if he was planning to cross the street at the wrong time.

Edited by KickReturn
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Trammell

K9soul that is very much like the exercises our behaviorist had us do with Loni. After she was comfortable with me walking by (because she never had an issue with me walking by) we moved to the next subject, than the next, than finally the dog she had issues with. Starting further away and moving closer.

 

ETA she also said to always muzzle Loni when she was with all of us. So I do that too. She really doesn't seem to care, and she has all day and also when we go to bed without a muzzle on.

Edited by Trammell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

FYI the dominance theory methods mentioned in the second post, particularely Cesare Milan's early methods, are generally not considered acceptible in most normal dog situations. They tend to be completely dismissed by serious practitioners in the field of animal behaviour. They are particularely counterproductive when dealing with breeds as sensitive as Greyhounds. Please avoid.

 

Agreed. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior took a stand against dominance training methods years ago. Those same outdated methods (used more recently by C. Millan) were proven ineffective and very dangerous 30+ years ago. Those methods proved to increase aggression in dogs. Dominance creates distrust and increases canine behavior problems in other areas.

 

In general, Greyhounds are a very sensitive breed that respond well to respectful, positive reward-based methods. K9Soul's treat offering method is good. I would caution against petting the top of the dog's head because reaching over a dog's head or leaning over a dog's body can be viewed as threatening behavior in dog language. Some new dogs are more receptive to a lower gentle pat on a shoulder/side (petting in same direction as fur growth).

 

IMO, dogs' personal resting space should be respected. Over time, after a new dog begins to feel more comfortable and safe in his/her home (possibly months or longer), and each family member has earned the dog's trust, the dog may (or may not) begin to feel more comfortable allowing a human into his/her personal resting space. Every adult dog's personality is different. Many Greyhounds have never been in such close physical contact with humans. Many new hounds simply prefer watching their new household happenings from the safety of their own dog bed in a protected corner, against a wall, or in an open door crate. It's safest for humans and most respectful to the dog to teach humans to wait for the dog to stand up, and let dog approach humans before offering the dog affection.

 

Below are two highly recommended experts. (The second link includes helpful dog language/calming signal photos.)

 

Dr. Sophia Yin, Veterinary Behaviorist: http://drsophiayin.com/resources

 

Turgid Rugaas, International Instructor for Dog Trainers. Canine Calming Signals: http://en.turid-rugaas.no/calming-signals-photos.html

 

To answer OP's muzzle question: If you're concerned about the children while they're in the same room with dog, the muzzle is a helpful temporary safety tool. (Dog can still make contact through a muzzle.) It's best to set everyone up for success by ensuring the dog has a safe personal space, and teach the children to avoid the dog's personal zone. Also, another dog bed in a nearby room would allow the dog a quiet retreat area if dog prefers to leave the room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest k9soul

Good post, 3greytjoys.

 

I should clarify that in my method I described, though it was a fairly short post, I stretched this out over months. I did not start touching him while laying down until he had been here about 4-5 months. I mostly worked on getting him comfortable with me walking past him and then later approaching him without touching. It's a good point about the head. In Rudy's case he's actually more comfortable being touched on the head when lying down than a hand reaching down lower on his body. (This is a dog who, when standing, loves being touched, rubbed, scratched all over his body, but he is more nervous when approached lying down). Every dog is different and you must watch and learn the signs of comfort and discomfort like the calming signals.

 

I've probably gone slower than even really necessary, but I prefer to go very gradually rather than rush something and have a setback. I strongly add my voice to those who discourage "dominance" methods.

Edited by k9soul
Link to comment
Share on other sites

k9soul: Thank you for elaborating your timing. :)

 

I'll clarify my mention of an open dog bed along a (far) wall or in a (far) safe corner (with open sides). Both are assuming it's a safer protected area for the dog to avoid being bumped into or frequently walked over (i.e., away from human traffic area). A dog's bed should not place them in a physically vunerable position. An escape route is important in case a dog suddenly feels startled or fearful. Good to avoid a direct frontal approach early in adjustment period if dog is resting.

 

Here is a good dog language link that includes photos with a diagram of signals to watch: http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/diagrams.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...